Market Harborough butchers fined for having filthy food preparation and storage areas

The shrink wrap machine
The shrink wrap machine

A Market Harborough butchers has been fined £4,000 for failing to meet food hygiene standards.

When Harborough District Council inspected Bates Butchers and Delicatessen Ltd, a storage and food processing site based in Melton Road on the edge of Market Harborough, they found a series of problems including filthy food preparation and storage areas, damaged flooring, and dirty food equipment.

Inside an oven

Inside an oven

The inspection also found contradictory risk assessment paperwork, as well as inadequate staff training and food hygiene knowledge.

The business supplies a butchers’ shop (which has a 5 out 5 food hygiene rating), as well as pubs, restaurants, schools, and children’s nurseries in the local area.

The council said it had “no option” other than to take action due to the potential risk to customers.

Bates Butchers and Delicatessen Ltd pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on May 2 to eight offences under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

Damage to the floor

Damage to the floor

They were fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 towards the council’s costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Despite the council serving improvement notices to Bates Butchers and Delicatessen Ltd after previous hygiene inspections and trying to work with the business to resolve issues; further hygiene inspections between April and August 2017 revealed similar poor food hygiene standards.

Councillor Jonathan Bateman, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for environmental health issues, said: “Unfortunately, despite trying to work with this business to improve conditions, their failure to resolve serious hygiene issues means we were given no option other than to prosecute.”

Harborough District Council has a duty to ensure food premises comply with statutory requirements and can take appropriate enforcement action if required.

Inside a fridge at the butchers

Inside a fridge at the butchers

In mitigation, the court heard that the business did not ignore concerns, but rather there was a mismanagement of priorities so concerns were rectified slower than should have been. There was also no evidence of actual impact on health to the wide spectrum of customers.

Cllr Bateman, added: “Food businesses have a legal duty to their customers to ensure the conditions in their premises meet rigorous food safety standards. I hope this prosecution sends out a strong message that food businesses which fall significantly short of this standard will be brought before the courts.”

Food hygiene ratings for food businesses can be found at www.food.gov.uk/ratings